The Internet of Things is here – But what exactly are the ’Things’?
You’ve probably heard of it or read about it somewhere. The Internet of Things – or IoT as it’s often referred to – and its services and products can sometimes sound like distant science fiction, although several of them are already available to the public. But what things are connected to the internet? Most of us automatically links IoT to home appliances or smart home systems. But it’s much more to it than that. Behind the ‘T’ you’ll find all sorts of things that you might not think of as IoT-products. Like cars.
Over the past 15 years or so, we’ve heard stories about refrigerators automatically ordering milk delivered to your doorstep. Or smart thermostats with movement detection sensors that lowers the temperature when no one is in the room. A detachable button by the washing machine that automatically orders up a new batch of detergent when you push it. Even your oven can be remotely controlled to make sure dinner is kept warm, while you’re stuck in traffic. These are all true stories from the Internet of Things.
The dismal truth
O After running Telenor Connexion for almost 7 years, Per Simonsen was earlier this year appointed as Head of Internet of Things within Telenor Group. In a role like that, you need to understand quite a bit about both the Internet and the Things.
– First of all, we must understand that the value of the Internet of Things has very little to do with either the Internet or the things. Rather, the real value lies in harvesting and analyzing the data that all these objects generate, and in turning those insights into meaningful action.
And now you’re thinking: But it’ll take years to gather enough data to make the insights good enough for real action, right? Think again.
– Remember – this isn’t in the future – this is now; we already have the data. And unfortunately, this data paints quite a dismal picture. Our society is full of inefficiencies, affecting both personal wellbeing and society-at-large. Here’s one example: Americans average 55 days per year stuck in traffic jams, resulting in “extra” yearly CO2e emissions about three times higher than the total emissions of Sweden.
That’s a lot of CO2. And a lot of traffic.
Changing the world, one car at a time
The latter is something Volvo is quite conscious about. After manufacturing cars for nearly 90 years, they’ve got their share of cars stuck in the before mentioned traffic jams. But now, their cars are becoming part of the IoT-era and that’s about to change how we relate to the vehicles.
– It’s really not about bringing the Internet into the car, but rather about taking the car to the Internet – making it a full-worthy citizen of the networked society, fully integrated into your digital lifestyle. Most car manufacturers will be offering connected functionality within the car, but the true differentiator will be in how well you make it a part of your daily, connected life, and the kind of value you can offer by bringing a connected car into the equation, says David Holecek, Director, Connected Products and Services at Volvo Car Group.
Of course we understand the ‘within the car’ part. It’s stuff like fuel consumption, driving data, real time traffic data and so on. But what could a car possibly do to become ‘fully integrated into our digital lifestyle’?
– It could integrate with other cars and society at large, like with the ’Slippery road alert’ functionality that will be launched in Sweden and Norway in 2016. Additionally, we can offer previously unheard-of innovations like our ’Roam Delivery’ service, which makes it possible to get deliveries to the trunk of your car without having to be there in person.
Wow.. Slippery road alerts and roam delivery services. We can see how those might be useful and it also opens up our minds to a whole new world of ‘things’ connected to the vast, but powerful internet.
Ooops! Did we say those out loud?
TBecause, in addition to cars, IoT will also be connecting smart roads, buildings, health care and home systems to help make our everyday life easier and more sustainable. It might not save the world over night, but it sure will change the world as we know it – for the better. To best understand what’s coming, we’d recommend not to miss the talks of Per Simonsen, David Holecek and all the other brilliant speakers lined up to enlighten us all at this year’s Digital Winners conference. We could tease you even more by dropping brand names such as Samsung, SAS, Evernote and Business Insider, but we’ll let you find out who the other speakers are for yourself. See you at Digital Winners 2015!